By GERY WOELFEL
The Green Bay Packers are obviously happy they drafted Christian Watson, especially after his glittering three-touchdown reception performance Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys.
But would the Packers be even happier if they had drafted Treylon Burks?
The Packers selected Watson in the second round – the 34th overall selection — after trading their two, late-second round picks to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Packers chose Watson after expending their two, first-round picks on linebacker Quay Walker (No. 22) and defensive lineman Devonte Wyatt (No. 28).
In the hours leading up to the draft, there were whispers among NFL teams the Packers had their sights on Burks, an imposing 6-foot-2, 225-pounder from Arkansas, whom some NFL scouts compared favorably with San Francisco star receiver Deebo Samuel.
But Burks never fell to the Packers at 22. Instead, he was selected by the Tennessee Titans with the 18th pick.
The Titans, like the Packers, had targeted Burks during the draft process, knowing they would need a potential impact receiver to replace star receiver A.J. Brown who they dealt to Philadelphia for Nos 18 and 101.
At the time, the Titans were keenly aware they wouldn’t be able to secure Burks if they stayed at their original first-round spot at 26.
“I know for a fact the Titans wanted Burks, but they knew they had to get ahead of the Packers to get him,’’ a source close to the situation told me. “They (the Titans) were convinced the Packers were going to take him (Burks).’’
The Titans’ decision to hop over the Packers in the draft seemed to be a shrewd one, especially after Burks fared well in the first games of the season when he caught seven passes.
But Burks suffered a turf toe injury in Week 4 against the Colts and spent four weeks on injured reserve before returning to action Sunday against the Denver Broncos. He had three receptions for 24 yards in that game.
While the injury temporarily slowed Burks’ development, the Titans brass and players fully realize Burks has the makings of being a special player.
Said Titans veteran receiver Cody Hollister said of Burks: “He’s so incredibly gifted.’’
Which is precisely the reason the Titans moved ahead of the Packers to draft him.